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First FNSS Kaplan MT 'Harimau' Medium Tanks Enter Service with Indonesian Army.

| Defense News Army 2024

According to information published on March 29, 2024, by the "Defense Studies" Blog, the Indonesian army has received its first medium tank Kaplan MT also called Harimau. Indonesia is the second country in Asia to be equipped with a medium tank after the Philippines which has acquired Sabra light tanks designed and manufactured by the Israeli Company Elbit Systems.
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First Kaplan MT medium tanks enter into service with the Indonesian army. (Picture source Defense Studies)

Currently, the Indonesian army is equipped with 103 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) including 42 Leopard 2A4 and 61 Leopard 2RI. Indonesia also has different types of light/medium tanks including 275 French AMX-13 (partially upgraded), 15 Soviet-made PT-76, and 60 British FV101 Scorpion-90.

Indonesia's strategic decision to acquire the Kaplan MT Medium Tank, also known as the Modern Medium Weight Tank, reflects a comprehensive approach to national defense and security amidst the country's unique geographical and tactical challenges. As an archipelagic nation spread over more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia faces distinct defense requirements. The country's vast and varied terrain demands a versatile and mobile military capability that can rapidly respond across different environments, from dense jungles to urban landscapes.

The Kaplan MT, developed jointly by Indonesia’s PT Pindad and Turkey’s FNSS, represents a modern and agile armored platform that suits Indonesia's operational needs. Its medium weight classification enables the tank to be more maneuverable than heavier tanks, an essential feature for swift deployment across Indonesia’s numerous islands and its varied terrains. This mobility does not come at the expense of firepower or protection, as the Kaplan MT is equipped with advanced armor and weapons systems suitable for modern warfare, ensuring that Indonesian forces can effectively engage with potential threats.

The FNSS Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT), also known as the Kaplan MT, exemplifies a strategic collaboration between the defense sectors of Turkey and Indonesia, merging advanced military technology with strategic operational concepts. This vehicle is engineered to address the multifaceted demands of modern warfare, ensuring it remains relevant across various combat scenarios. Its design is a careful consideration of the balance between agility, protection, and lethal capability, tailored to operate efficiently in diverse environments—from dense urban settings to challenging rural terrains.

The Kaplan MT is equipped with a two-man turret, integrating a standard NATO 105mm rifled gun. This primary weapon system is capable of firing a range of ammunition types, including Armour Piercing (AP) and High Explosive (HE) rounds, offering the flexibility needed to engage a variety of targets, from armored vehicles to fortified positions and infantry. The inclusion of an automatic loading system enhances the tank's operational efficiency, allowing for rapid firing rates and reduced crew workload. This system holds 16 rounds in its standard configuration, with a reduced capacity to 12 rounds for an air-deployable configuration, ensuring the Kaplan MT maintains its firepower even when deployed via air transport, a critical consideration for rapid deployment scenarios.

First FNSS Kaplan MT Harimau Medium Tanks Enter Service with Indonesian Army 925 002
The Kaplan MT is a new generation of medium tanks armed with a 105mm cannon. coupled to an automatic ammunition loading system. (Picture source FNSS)

The Kaplan MT's hull and turret are engineered to offer robust STANAG 4569 Level 4 ballistic protection, effectively shielding it from 14.5mm armor-piercing projectiles and splinters from 155mm artillery shells. Additionally, the tank's design ensures it can absorb the impact of a 10kg TNT explosion beneath its tracks and hull, safeguarding the crew and internal systems from significant blast effects.

To further enhance its defensive capabilities, the Kaplan MT can be outfitted with additional armor, elevating its protection to STANAG 4569 Level 5. This upgrade enables the tank to withstand hits from 25mm armor-piercing discarding sabot-tracer (APDS-T) rounds, significantly increasing its survivability on the battlefield.

For comprehensive defensive coverage, the Kaplan MT incorporates smoke grenade launchers, alongside a fully integrated chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection system and a laser warning system. These systems collectively heighten the tank's defensive posture against a variety of threats, from conventional to asymmetric warfare tactics.

The Kaplan MT is powered by a diesel engine paired with an electronically controlled fully automatic transmission, providing an efficient and responsive power delivery system. The tank's performance, featuring a power-to-weight ratio of 20 horsepower per ton, varies with the configuration of its protection system, optimizing its agility and speed for different operational needs. Fuel efficiency and range are supported by dual separate fuel tanks, enhancing its operational endurance.

With its advanced propulsion system, the Kaplan MT achieves a top road speed of 70 km/h and boasts a minimum operational range of 450 km, ensuring rapid deployment and sustained mobility across varied terrains. The tank is exceptionally capable in challenging environments, able to tackle gradients and side slopes of 60% and 30% respectively, showcasing its versatility in navigating difficult landscapes. Moreover, its design enables it to surmount vertical obstacles up to 0.9 meters in height and traverse trenches up to 2 meters wide, further testament to its superior maneuverability and adaptability in complex battlefield conditions.

Defense News April 2024

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